Friday, January 27, 2012

Orange Cremesicle Cookies

Orange Cremesicle Cookies

3  Cups  Butter, softened
1 1/2  Cups  Brown Sugar
1 1/2  Cups  White Sugar
3  Eggs
1  Tablespoon  Vanilla
7 1/2  Cups  Flour
2 1/4  teaspoons  Baking Soda
1 1/2  teaspoons  Salt
1/3  Cup  Orange Zest, finely minced (from about 3 large Oranges)
4 to 6  Cups  Vanilla Chips
Juice from Half of one Orange

Cream together the Butter and Sugars.  Beat in Eggs and Vanilla.  Add in Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt; mix well until incorporated.  Stir in Orange Zest and Vanilla Chips.  Gently blend in Orange Juice.  Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375* for 8-10 minutes. (Do not flatten on the baking sheet or over bake!)  Cool before storing in an air-tight container.  Makes about 8 dozen and freezes well.

What a refreshing change!  After all the rich cookies at Christmas it sure tastes good to have a citrus cookie.  I found this recipe at The Girl Who Ate Everything, via Pintrest.  I thought the recipe was a little small (we go through cookies like crazy and I sure don't like to make them!) and a little stiff, so I adapted and tripled it.  I hope you enjoy it, too!

As you can tell, I had fun photographing this!
Bright spring-y aqua and orange--what's not to like?

Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
with Honey-Nut Topping

2  pkg.  Dry Yeast  (2 Tablespoons)
1/2  Cup  Warm Water
1/2  Cup  Sugar
2  Eggs
1  teaspoon  Salt
2/3  Cup  Butter, room temperature
1  Cup  Mashed Sweet Potatoes (instant is fine, but left-over candied Sweet Potatoes are preferred)
1  Cup  Milk, room temperature
2  Cups  Whole Wheat Flour
4 1/2  Cups  White Flour

Melted Butter, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon
Optional:  Dash Nutmeg, Dash Cloves, Chopped Pecans

Dissolve the Yeast and Sugar in Warm Water.  Beat in Eggs.  Add Salt, softened Butter, Sweet Potatoes, Milk, and 3 Cups Flour.  Beat well; stir in remaining Flour and mix well until smooth.  Let rise until almost doubled.  Punch down dough, knead 10-15 strokes; divide dough in half.  Roll out one half of the dough into a 12x18 rectangle; brush with Melted Butter.  Sprinkle with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Dash each of Nutmeg and Cloves, and Chopped Pecans, as desired.  Roll up, starting at the 18-inch side.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Cut each log into 12 rolls; 24 rolls total.  Place in two greased 9x13 pans; let rise until almost doubled.  Bake at 375* for 20 minutes or less; check between 15-18 minutes.  Frost when cool if not using the Honey-Nut Topping (a Cream Cheese Frosting is especially yummy).  Serves 24, freezes very well.

Honey-Nut Topping

1/2  Cup  Butter
1/2  Cup  Brown Sugar
1/2  Cup  Honey
1/2 to 1  Cup  Chopped Pecans

Melt Butter in a small saucepan; stir in Brown Sugar and Honey.  Cook until Brown Sugar is dissolved and all ingredients are well blended.  Stir in Chopped Pecans.  Pour over Cinnamon Rolls half-way through baking (after 10 minutes) and continue baking as usual.  Enough for two 9x13 pans of Cinnamon Rolls.

This is a creation/adaption/collaboration recipe of mine.  It was originally a recipe for Potato Dinner Rolls (which you can revert back to, just use regular Potatoes and 100% White Flour; shape into dinner rolls)  which I created using leftover Sweet Potatoes, adapted to use part Whole-Wheat Flour, and collaborated with my sister-in-law Becky and her Honey-Nut Topping.

I've been a little reluctant to share this recipe; I keep thinking that someday a contest will come along and I can enter it...  That someday still hasn't came.  So, I guess you could say that you're the Winner!  :)  Enjoy!

Also, be certain that you use Brown Sugar, not White, for the Filling.  Here's why:  Brown Sugar melts with a caramel color, while White Sugar isn't as visible.  Folks will consistently say that the Cinnamon Roll made with Brown Sugar has 'more' filling in it than the Roll made with White Sugar, and thus will say it is the 'better' Roll because it has 'more' in it.  Tricks of the Trade, you know.  ;)

The leftover Sweet Potatoes had a crunchy-nut topping;
I love the way the nuts become a part of the dough.

Dough with Brown Sugar
Dough with White Sugar

I like to cut my dough first in half, then in quarters, and finally each quarter
into three rolls.  This way they are all the same size.

Ready for rising

Ready for the Oven!

Friday, January 13, 2012

7-Layer Mediterranean Dip

7-Layer Mediterranean Dip

Looking for something different than the same-old, same-old Taco Dip?  Give this a try:  it's a refreshing change!  You'll need:

1  16-oz.  Hummus
1  Cucumber, diced
1/2 each of a Red and a Yellow  Bell Pepper, diced

8 oz.  Feta Cheese, crumbled, or to taste
1/2  Cup  Kalamata Olives, chopped, or to taste
Fresh Oregano and Dill, chopped
and a Drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Just layer on a platter in the order given and serve with:
Pita Chips

This makes enough for an 8x8-inch platter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Creamy Curried Chicken & Rice Soup with Broccoli

Creamy Curried Chicken & Rice Soup with Broccoli
(how's that for a tongue-twister title!?)

Happy New Year to you!

I've been deep into my Spring Deep Cleaning.  Part of that had included cleaning out my kitchen, which means I found a can of Coconut Milk hidden waaaay in the back of the cupboard.  I also had some Broccoli in the fridge and some Chicken in the freezer, so I thought I'd make a Soup from these ingredients.  Oh, and I also found not one, but TWO bottles of Curry Powder in the Spice Rack.  I searched for a recipe with these ingredients.  Didn't find one, but I did find several with a partial list...  Anyhow, this is the end result.  The photo's at the end of the recipe, 'cause it didn't turn out so great (the photo, that is--the Soup was yummy).  And no one even missed the Milk.

Read the Recipe thoroughly before starting; you'll use one pan three times.

2  Quarts  Chicken Broth  (I use Better Than Bouillon and Water)
1/2  Cup  Rice, uncooked

2  Boneless/Skinless  Chicken Breasts, uncooked, diced
Diced Onion, to taste

1  Large Head  Broccoli
2  Cups  Water

6  Tablespoons  Butter
1/2  Cup  Flour

1  Can  Coconut Milk
1/4 to 1  teaspoon  Curry Powder, to taste (I use about 3/4 teaspoon)
Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Black Pepper, to taste

1.  In an 8-quart pan over High, bring the Chicken Broth and Rice to a boil; reduce to simmer and cover.  Cook 20 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in a 3-quart pan, saute the diced Chicken Breast and Onion in Olive Oil until done; set aside in another dish.

3.  Using the same 3-quart pan, cook the Broccoli in the 2 cups Water.  Transfer Broccoli and Water to a blender and puree; set aside in blender.

4.  Melt the Butter in that 3-quart pan; stir in Flour and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the pureed Broccoli/Water.  This will make a 'white' sauce and will seem slightly pasty.  Don't worry.

By now the Rice should be cooked, so it's time for step 5:  Using a large whisk, blend the Broccoli 'sauce' into the Rice and Broth, mixing until all lumps are smooth.  Stir in the Chicken, Onion, and any accumulated juices.  Gently stir in the Coconut Milk and Curry Powder and heat until hot through.  Season to taste with Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Black Pepper, in that order.

Enjoy!  Serves 10-12

As the old cookbooks say, "Perfected by the Author in her own Test Kitchen."